Fifth anniversary of 4:20 protests

More than 50 people gathered at the University of Otago campus yesterday evening to mark the fifth anniversary of weekly protests seeking the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Some people juggled with skittles, and most listened to music played through an extensive sound system by several disc jockeys and, later, three live bands, outside the University Union building.

Several people also smoked cannabis in what organisers said was an act of civil disobedience against cannabis laws.

Participants included members of Otago University NORML, a club which advocates the decriminalisation of cannabis and is affiliated to the Otago University Students Association.

Several police officers later walked among the protesters amid a friendly atmosphere, and did not immediately intervene.

The so-called "4:20" protests began on the Otago campus in mid-2004 when people began gathering under a walnut tree near the union building at 4.20pm each Friday to seek cannabis law reform, protest organisers said.

The Friday protests had since continued each week of the university academic year, and, from early last year, a weekly protest had also been held at 4.20pm on Wednesdays.


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